I celebrated my first and only (till date) Thanksgiving in Chicago last year. The Dean of my program hosted a traditional dinner for all us international students at his house. There were lots of dishes and I remember eating sweet potatoes and rhubarb (cause I’m vegetarian, don’t ask me why) while chatting with the head librarian co-host. My most vivid memory of that night is spilling coffee on the carpet (and myself) and my batchmates from China clearing up the whole mess after sending me to the loo to clean myself. It’s this little act of kindness that will continue to stay with me. I don’t think I thanked them, or apologised to the Dean for soiling his carpet. Most of the evening was spent in coming up with a plan to take part in the shopping frenzy that would take place the next day. F and I decided to go to the outlet mall in Michigan city (the only one accessible by public transportation) and left for our respective room/ apartment by 6 pm. We had barely walked a block when it started raining. At first we decided to slug it out, unaware of the meteorological phenomenon that is Chicago weather. Eventually we gave up and got on one of the shuttles operated by the University through the night. It was pouring heavily by now, completely at odds with sunny morning that day had experienced earlier. The shuttle stopped in front of Regenstein library, the mandatory pit stop for all shuttle routes. The driver was nice enough to radio the driver of our next shuttle to find out when she would reach. Then we proceeded to ask him if we could wait inside the shuttle instead of outside in the rain. He laughed off the suggestion that he could even consider making us wait in the rain (where I come from, the drivers wouldn’t hesitate to throw us out once we had reached our destination). Needless to say, both of us reached our beds relatively dry and in high spirits.
The shopping expedition the next day was successful. Again we weren’t prepared when it started snowing in the morning. And the stories about the Chinese invasion of all Coach stores is true. Grown men clutching multiple handbags for mothers/sisters/girlfriends back home.
My ‘achievements’ over the Thanksgiving break (here’s the list I warned you I would make)-
Ate a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Check.
Participated in the mass shopping extravaganza that is Black Friday. Check.
Experienced the myriad moods of a Chicagoan day. Check.
Met wonderful people who I still give thanks for. Check.